Cesare Borgia

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Borgia, Cesare or Caesar

(chā`zärā bōr`jä), 1476–1507, Italian soldier and politician, younger son of Pope Alexander VIAlexander VI,
1431?–1503, pope (1492–1503), a Spaniard (b. Játiva) named Rodrigo de Borja or, in Italian, Rodrigo Borgia; successor of Innocent VIII. He took Borja as his surname from his mother's brother Alfonso, who was Pope Calixtus III.
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 and an outstanding figure of the Italian Renaissance. Throughout his pontificate Alexander VI used his position to aggrandize his son and establish a papal empire in N and central Italy. Archbishop of Valencia and a cardinal by 1493, Cesare resigned the dignity after the death (1498) of his elder brother, the duke of Gandia, in whose murder he was probably involved. He now began his political career as papal legate to France. He struck an alliance with King Louis XII who made him duke of Valentinois (Valence), and married (1499) Charlotte d'Albret, a sister of the king of Navarre. The French having overrun Italy (see Italian WarsItalian Wars,
1494–1559, series of regional wars brought on by the efforts of the great European powers to control the small independent states of Italy. Renaissance Italy was split into numerous rival states, most of which sought foreign alliances to increase their
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), Cesare, with his father's encouragement, subdued (1499–1500) the cities of the RomagnaRomagna
, historic region, N central Italy, bordering on the Adriatic Sea in the east, now included in the regions of Emilia-Romagna, Marche, and Tuscany. Although its boundaries varied at different times, the Romagna is now understood to occupy Forlì and Ravenna provs.
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 one by one. Made duke of Romagna (1501) by the pope, Cesare also seized (1502) Piombino, Elba, Camerino, and the duchy of Urbino, and he crowned his achievements by artfully luring his chief enemies to the castle of Senigallia, where he had some of them strangled. By killing his enemies, packing the college of cardinals, pushing his conquests as fast as possible, and buying the loyalty of the Roman gentry, he had hoped to make his position independent of the papacy, or at least to insure that the election of any future pope would be to his liking. But before his schemes could be realized, Cesare was struck in 1503 by the same poison (or illness) that suddenly killed his father. Cesare recovered; however, his political power had suffered a fatal blow. Pius III, after a short reign, was succeeded by Julius IIJulius II,
1443–1513, pope (1503–13), an Italian named Giuliano della Rovere, b. Savona; successor of Pius III. His uncle Sixtus IV gave him many offices and created him cardinal.
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, an implacable enemy of Cesare Borgia. Louis XII then turned against him. Julius demanded the immediate return of what territory remained to Cesare and had him temporarily arrested. Returning to Naples, Cesare was soon arrested by the Spanish governor there as the result of collusion between Julius II and the Spanish rulers, Ferdinand and Isabella. Sent to prison in Spain, he escaped and finally found refuge (1506) at the court of the king of Navarre. He died fighting for him at Viana. His former possessions had passed under direct papal rule; thus, Cesare must be regarded as instrumental in the consolidation of the Papal States, even if that was not his purpose. Cesare has long been considered the model of the Renaissance prince, the prototype of Niccolò Machiavelli's Prince—intelligent, cruel, treacherous, and ruthlessly opportunistic.


See biographies by M. Mallett, The Borgias (1969) and E. R. Chamberlain, Fall of the House of Borgia (1989).

Borgia, Cesare

(1476–1507) unscrupulously plotted against friend and foe. [Ital. Hist.: Plumb, 59–61]
See: Cunning

Borgia, Cesare

(1476–1507) prototype of Machiavelli’s “Prince”: intelligent and ruthlessly opportunistic. [Ital. Hist.: Plumb, 59]
References in periodicals archive ?
13) It is surprising that Marc Shell's study of incest and Measure for Measure has only one passing reference to Lucrezia Borgia, and none at all to Cesare Borgia, the Borgia papacy, or Machiavelli.
Mortensen will play Cesare Borgia, the model for Machiavelli's brutal political pragmatist The Prince.
The man whom Machiavelli took as his model was Cesare Borgia, who summoned all his enemies to a meeting at Senigallia and then had them all strangled.
The book provides a cogent reading of Richard II's relationship to Mowbray, whom he must dispose of as Cesare Borgia disposed of Remirro de Orco.
Cesare Borgia was eventually dispensed from his deaconate and laicized by his father Alexander VI, and later married--de Roo, 1:273 (Cesare's ordination to the deaconate on 26 March 1496), 283-84 (Cesare's speech in the Sacred Consistory of 17 August 1498 requesting laicization, but the actual date is unknown).
Since Cardinal Soderini had collaborated closely with Machiavelli on their joint diplomatic missions to the courts of Cesare Borgia and Pope Alexander VI in 1502-03, it is reasonable to assume that already by March 1506 he had acquired a good understanding of the Secretary's views on military affairs, and that even prior to that date the two men had discussed the importance of military discipline and the special qualities required of a military commander charged with the monumental task of creating disciplined soldiers out of crude and inexperienced conscripts.
We might see in this capicomico a model for a vicious Cesare Borgia, who as we know from a chilling passage in the Principe, manipulated the public piazza of Cesena for political stability, or a throwback to Romulus, who manipulated the public theater of Rome for imperial ends.
The criticism of Alexander VI would have been especially appreciated, given the fact that the pope's son Cesare Borgia had led a brutal military campaign for the papacy in the Romagna region, becoming Duke of Urbino and ousting Guidobaldo and the Duchess Elisabetta despite the family's previous loyalty to the papacy.
Viroli recognizes that Machiavelli views the world from below, from the angle of his poverty, exclusion, and suffering, but he fails to see how Machiavelli's feelings also made him scorn the timid, cowardly mass of humanity and identify with the powerful, with princes such as Cesare Borgia and Castruccio Castracani who shamelessly deceived and manipulated others.
27) Cesare Borgia also employed the Orsini, although he feared both Orsini and Colonna, using them and other condottieri to snatch his chestnuts out of the fire and then seeking to destroy them.
The MS is thought to date from 1502 when Leonardo was in the service of Cesare Borgia.
Whether she is reading Machiavelli on Agathocles and Cesare Borgia in The Prince, or chapters in the Discourses, essays by Francis Bacon, Volumnia's speeches in Coriolanus, or the verse of Milton's Comus and Paradise Lost, historians, political theorists, and literary critics all must attend to and delight in her subtle, informed, and convincing readings.